Friday begins a week-long break at the legislature as we take time to celebrate the Easter and Passover holidays. I wish you and your family a very happy holiday.
It was an extremely busy week in St. Paul as I had a number of bills heard before committees this week.
On Monday, a bill I am authoring that instructs MnDOT to post signs on I-35 directing motorists to the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, received a hearing in the House Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee.
Tuesday, in the House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee, I had a bill receive a hearing that works to reduce the costs of textbooks at MnState colleges and universities.
Anyone that attends or has a child enrolled in college understands the high costs of textbooks. My bill would require the Board of Trustees of the MN State Colleges and Universities to develop a plan to increase the use of affordable textbooks and instructional materials.
The rising costs of college textbooks continue to be a huge burden on students looking to pursue higher education. This is a common sense approach to try and make sure that college is affordable and accessible to all Minnesotans.
Finally, I had four bills heard before House State Government Finance Committee that fund various projects at the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind in Faribault. The projects include security improvements, dormitory renovations, and funding for asset preservation. I appreciate the support from the committee on these bills and am hopeful they will be included in a bonding bill if the legislature chooses to pass such a bill this year.
On Thursday, House Republicans unveiled a legislative package that addresses the issue of school safety and mental healthcare in our schools.
We owe it to our children and our communities to advance meaningful, effective legislation that will keep our schools safe and these initiatives do just that.
Here is a brief recap of the legislative proposals:
- School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools.
- School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems.
- School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids authored.
- Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies.
- Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.
- School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff.
That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts or concerns you may have about state government or the job I'm doing as your representative. It would be great to talk with you. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a blessed Easter,